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45nm Opteron Performance, Power Efficiency Tested

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the brass-tacks dept.

AMD 129

An anonymous reader writes "Now that Intel has unleashed its next-generation Core i7 processors, all eyes are turned to AMD and its incoming wave of 45nm CPUs. To get a feel for AMD's future competitiveness, The Tech Report has taken a pair of 2.7GHz 45nm Opterons (with 75W power envelopes) and put them through the paces against Intel Xeons and older, 65nm Opterons in an extensive suite of performance and power efficiency tests — from Cinema 4D and SPECjbb to computational fluid dynamics and a custom XML handling benchmark. The verdict: AMD's new 45nm quad-core design is a notable improvement over the 65nm iteration, and it proves to be a remarkably power-efficient competitor to Intel's Xeons. However, 45nm AMD chips likely don't have what it takes to best Intel's Core i7 and future Nehalem-based Xeons."

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AMD had it going (5, Insightful)

bb84 (1301363) | more than 4 years ago | (#25956843)

...but have since really lost momentum and competitiveness. They truly awakened the sleeping giant when they were kicking Intel's ass a few years ago.

Re:AMD had it going (5, Interesting)

speed of lightx2 (1375759) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957041)

...but have since really lost momentum and competitiveness

Seven out of the top ten supercomputers in the latest top500 list have AMD in them, including the top two, so I don't really see the whole "AMD losing momentum and competitiveness.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957103)

Sales. Particularly in laptops.

Re:AMD had it going (4, Interesting)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957249)

Yes Intel laptop sales are better.

And I find it hilarious: Intel consistently makes better mobile CPUs definitely but everything else they do in mobile space reeks to high heaven. To this day its nearly impossible to buy a Atom netbook without a Intel GMA based chipset: thats a 2 watt cpu and a 12-25 watt chipset. If you buy a normal laptop, its probably a 45w or 35w chip, even though the Pxx00 series is 25w and almost the same price, and again it comes with an absolutely worthless video card that sucks down >10 watts.

AMD certainly doesnt have as nice a processor offering. Their power is close (31w) but the performance just isnt as good. But in my mind they more than make up for it by always having power-thrifty chipsets boasting really good graphics capabilities. Amd's gone even further by offering PowerXpress and CrossfireX, allowing users to switch between integrated and discrete video cards or to use both at once (respectively). I'll take the un-noticable cpu speed hit for a huge power savings and good integrated video boon.

The biggest thing keeping AMD down in the mobile world is the systems. OEM's tend to slap together something in a cheap case missing half the plugs you'd expect when they put together Athlon systems.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958053)

It probably doesn't help that the Megahertz race is no longer relevant, and savvy customers can no longer divide the MHz by the price, and find out which system gives you the most e-penis for your buck. Customers no longer have a clue, so everyone just shrugs and goes with the biggest brand name.

Re:AMD had it going (4, Funny)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958785)

which system gives you the most e-penis for your buck

I believe you are referring to the Apple iPenis.

This forthcoming product from Apple is very fashionable but it does dick-all.

Re:AMD had it going (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25962455)

Do not ask what your iPenis can do for you, ask what you can do for your iPenis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7CUFPkjXRs [youtube.com]

Re:AMD had it going (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 4 years ago | (#25962741)

which system gives you the most e-penis for your buck

I believe you are referring to the Apple iPenis.

This forthcoming product from Apple is very fashionable but it does dick-all.

Must be good - just look what it did for Steve Jobs. *ducks and runs for cover*

Re:AMD had it going (2, Insightful)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959171)

The biggest thing keeping AMD down in the mobile world is the systems.

Speaking beyond just the mobile market, it's important to keep in mind that Intel is facing anti-trust suits around the world. And has already been found guilty in S. Korea with Europe getting increasingly annoyed at their delays. If the accusations are true, Intel's unlimited R&D budget is ill-gotten via illegal, exclusory business practices.

Frankly I'm all but blown away at how a company with a smaller market cap than either NVIDIA or Intel can continue to compete and sometimes win.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Informative)

default luser (529332) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959969)

And I find it hilarious: Intel consistently makes better mobile CPUs definitely but everything else they do in mobile space reeks to high heaven. To this day its nearly impossible to buy a Atom netbook without a Intel GMA based chipset: thats a 2 watt cpu and a 12-25 watt chipset. If you buy a normal laptop, its probably a 45w or 35w chip, even though the Pxx00 series is 25w and almost the same price, and again it comes with an absolutely worthless video card that sucks down >10 watts.

Not true at all, where have you been reading this bullshit? The Intel 945G Mobile is the standard chipset used by netbooks, and has a TDP of between 5-7w [intel.com] . The Mobile 945GSE used by the Asus netbooks has a TDP of only 6w. You don't really think they'd have the power in one of those tiny nettops to power a desktop chipset for 2+ hours, do you?

The chipset you are thinking of is the craptastic 945GC [intel.com] , which is the leftovers remaining after Intel cherry-picks the mobile versions. The only reason Intel uses these on their Atom motherboards is because the boards are designed for MINIMUM COST for developing markets, not minimum power. Since the 945GC is practically free to use (leftovers), Intel can sell the whole board + Atom for $70.

There's nothing preventing other manufacturers from releasing an Atom motherboard with a mobile chipset, aside from cost...but cost is a strong factor in designs. Typically, if they go to that kind of trouble to design for low power, they design to tighter specs and sell the board to the embedded market for $300+. In the consumer DESKTOP market, most people don't care about the difference between 20w and 40w, so the ideal board for you will never be sold.

Re:AMD had it going (4, Insightful)

bb84 (1301363) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957143)

and out of all computer owners in the world, how many of them have supercomputers? Right now, in the consumer level most people consider Intel's stuff better. No bias here, but just looking at specs and performance, Intel currently sells the best goods. That's exactly what I meant--they awoke the sleeping giant. Intel has more experience, money, employees, and resources. No, that doesn't mean they have to have the best products. However, when you take all that and combine a damaged ego when AMD first whooped 'em, they pooled their talent, money, and everything else and slammed back. I interned at Intel's fab20 in 2006. People talked about AMD and how Intel really needed to make a comeback. My impression was that they were not very amused at the ratings then, and ever since the Core 2 Duos general user preference is swinging back in their direction because they started delivering a much superior product. AMD needs to get their act together if they want to hold out against Intel in the long run.

Re:AMD had it going (4, Insightful)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957351)

You're perspective's demented, because you think cpu performance still matters for end users. Cpu performance has always been a rat race; the difference is that its fast enough now.

Its not the numbers of computers or supercomputers you should be counting, its the number of cores. Google runs data centers with >50,000 computers; they're working on data center #20 in the states now. Yahoo, Microsoft, Sun, Ibm, Ebay, Amazon, Pixar... they all need these colossal systems to support their business. These are huge volume sales. Ask how much CPU any of these companies wants and they'll ask how much you can give them.

The desktop on the other hand is growingly irrelevant. The square-mm of the average desktop cpu are going to shrink considerably; Atom is Intel trying to cut room for x86 in clothes of devices of a much smaller size. Consumers wont need the 6 core or 12 core cpus AMD's putting out next; most can barely use the dual core they have now. In another decade I am 100% certain most desktops will have been subsumed into phones; phones with bluetooth keyboards and some hdmi-analog. Frame buffer limitations aside, we're almost at that power level already.

In the workplace, virtualization and increasing computing power will probably lead to thin clients again. Why give everyone a $900 workstation when $250 terminals and a couple heavily virtualized servers are easier to maintain?

What me and my grandparent are saying is, if you want to build big fast machines, you need someone who has a use for those super machines. And frankly I dont see any commitment aside from dedicated gamers and the businesses for whom computing is life.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Funny)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958071)

I think Steve Ballmer has a cunning plan to prevent this :D

Re:AMD had it going (3, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958211)

There is a very simple reason that the Top500 is full of Opteron systems. Until the i7 Intel did not have an integrated memory controller. Although the Core2 does more work per cycle, at lower power, and with better caching - there is a measurable difference in large memory bound workloads. The other factors were enough to make them faster on the desktop, but the lack of integrated memory controller was killing them in large-scale systems.

The i7 continues the advantages that Core2 had over the Opteron range, but adds that missing memory controller. It's not clear yet if it is good enough. The memory subsystem graphs in the article are interesting. Intel still has a faster, larger cache, but may lack raw bandwidth to main memory.

I'm not going to disagree with your comments on the impending death of the desktop (or agree with them either). But I will point out that people have been making exactly the same comments and predictions for 20 years. We still have desktop computers.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958571)


All of which goes to show that unlike most desktop buyers who choose a chip based on easy to grasp numbers like the MHz, people who buy servers look more closely. Intel appear to have taken the speed crown for a bit, but AMD have always offered a good, solid, power-efficient design that does the job. And it looks like they're creating the basis for an impressive line to come. I hope the recession doesn't hit them too hard, they deserve to do well with their recent efforts.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958953)

In the workplace, virtualization and increasing computing power will probably lead to thin clients again. Why give everyone a $900 workstation when $250 terminals and a couple heavily virtualized servers are easier to maintain?

It's just like my COBOL teacher in college said!

No, seriously, I'm not being snarky. He really said that about eight years ago. Said he had seen it happen before and that it would happen again.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959243)

I tend to agree but there are some trends that will use more CPU.
HD-Video editing. You can buy a digital camera that will shoot 720p video for all of $150. Editing and transcodeing video takes CPU time.
Gaming is the huge question. The consoles often make more sense for gaming but I think people will always want to play games on their PCs.
Then you have speech input. That can always use more CPU power.
So we may not be at good enough yet but I think we are getting very close.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960737)

From that perspective, I've been watching the low-power VIA chips slowly creep into desktop speeds. We're at the point where the smaller players can start competing in the desktop and laptop markets soon, and it should be fun.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Foolomon (855512) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960887)

Sure. And we'll never need 64k of RAM either right? After all, who could ever need that much memory...?

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 4 years ago | (#25961913)

"You're perspective's demented, because you think cpu performance still matters for end users. "

It depends - in mmorpgs (e.g. daoc) i have found cpu performance to be a significant factor when it comes to lag. Not the only significant, but certainly one of them. Maybe that's updating the UI, I'm not sure, but it is.

As for the future, if your cpu has enough unused horsepower, why not move some of the graphical functions off the graphics card and back into the cpu? E.g. do the physics calculations in software if you have the oomph.

"And frankly I dont see any commitment aside from dedicated gamers and the businesses for whom computing is life."

Oracle just recently moved metalink to a flash-based engine, which appears to suck down serious horses on my machine at work. I think there's plenty of room still for a thick client.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 4 years ago | (#25963709)

Since when do most computer consumers know what a processor is, or have an opinion about AMD?

Most people buy Intel because most people are shown an Intel machine by the sales people. Some of the very large OEMs don't even make AMD systems available. Personally, when I've done custom machines, or advised family on low end machine purchases, *every* one of them has chosen AMD when I gave the option, simply because the price for a given performance point was better.

And no, I'm not an AMD fangirl, I'm on an Intel right now, since Intel met my needs at the time the machine was bought, and AMD didn't, even if it was far cheaper.

Re:AMD had it going (3, Informative)

Henriok (6762) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957411)

Seven out of the top ten supercomputers in the latest top500 list have AMD in them, including the top two, so I don't really see the whole "AMD losing momentum and competitiveness.

Seven out of the top ten supercomputers have Power Architecture processors in then too, including the top two, but I'd say that Power Architecture has lost its momentum, wouldn't you?

PS. For those who don't know. Roadrunner uses PowerXCell 8i processors, which are Power Architecture. All Cray XT3/4/5 supercomputers uses PowerPC 440 based communication processors called SeaStar. BlueGene uses PPC 440/450 based custom CPUs. DS.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957897)

Power and PowerPC is doing great. XBox360, PS3, Wii, Toshiba TVs, supercomputers, set top boxes, ...

Just because it isn't doing well in the desktop PC market doesn't mean it is losing its momentum.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957471)

True, but for how much longer? The reason you find Opterons in such massive servers is because HyperTransport scales up much better in 4P+ designs than Intel's ancient FSB. Now that they have QuickPath Interconnect for Nehalem/Core i7 and its derivatives, they aren't going to be held back by buses any longer. HT was AMD's one last trump card against the Core 2 generation, but they have no such card for use against the Core i7 generation.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958039)

No Intel only plan to refresh the Xeon UP and DP series with Nehalem in Q1 2009. They will only offer QPI for 4P+ systems in late 2009, when they release their Nehalem-based Xeon MPs. So it is safe to say that AMD will continue to dominate the 4P market for at least 1 more year.

AMD had it going-939 (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958265)

They might and as far as bang for the buck AMD is still there. The main thing that burns me with AMD is the stunt they pulled with the short-lived 939 socket. AMD left those people out to hang, high and dry.

Re:AMD had it going-939 (2, Insightful)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958623)

Absolutely, I was happy to support the underdog until I was the beneficiary of a '939 shafting; AMD promised AMD-V support on Socket 939 and then pulled it, and although not AMD's fault (I'm looking at you nVidia & ASUS) the chipset/motherboard performance, driver support and hardware reliability left me with a very sour taste.

Now that there is no longer any viable non-x86 solution, I've gone intel 100%. not just the CPU but I'll now only buy Intel motherboards, turns out they are _very_ reliable, stable, and the BIOS and drivers are QA'd properly. Who would've thunk it?

Re:AMD had it going-939 (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958993)

The boards are fine (made by Foxconn I believe). They just don't have as many "offerings" as others. e.g. more ports, overclocking (remember Intel was the first to lock their FSB), etc. Also while Intel does CPUs great, chipsets aren't their strong point (same could be said for AMD).

Re:AMD had it going-939 (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959239)

The boards are fine (made by Foxconn I believe). They just don't have as many "offerings" as others. e.g. more ports, overclocking (remember Intel was the first to lock their FSB), etc. Also while Intel does CPUs great, chipsets aren't their strong point (same could be said for AMD).

I actually don't mind if the chipset doesn't have every bell and whistle, all I really care about is stability.

To intel's credit I've found their motherboards have stability that almost approaches some of the old SPARC, PA-RISC, Power & Alpha Boxen I still have in-play.

That said, we would all be in a much better position if there was still a viable alternative architecture in the market place (HPC and embedded aside). The intel guys have certainly pulled some clever tricks to take their Instruction Set Architecture, which is so badly designed you'd have to wonder if it wasn't a conscious choice, and make it perform so well.

I still wonder though what might have been if the process engineers at intel had been given a descent ISA design. Although the biggest problem isn't the performance, or indeed the power consumption (there have been plenty of posts pointing out that these obstacles have been reduced in their magnitude), but ultimately the x86 ISA is still a security nightmare, and is only getting worse due to some new [blogspot.com] features, as well as some crufty [techtarget.com] ones.

Re:AMD had it going-939 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25960449)

Thank you for the compliment on the stability.
I spend my days (and occasionally nights) setting up tests for stability. Reset tests, Suspend/Hibernate tests, spread across several processors and a half dozen memories (speed/brand). I'm rather proud of how well our boards work in that respect and it mostly comes down to my team of 12 people being asses to the devs when something doesn't look right.

Anyway, thanks for the kudos and believe it or not:

that said, we would all be in a much better position if there was still a viable alternative architecture in the market place

I assume you're referring mostly to PA and the like here (though I was partial to MIPS) and boy do I agree with you. I miss my old SGI.
-anon (obviously)

Re:AMD had it going-939 (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25963241)

Thank you for the compliment on the stability.
I spend my days (and occasionally nights) setting up tests for stability. Reset tests, Suspend/Hibernate tests, spread across several processors and a half dozen memories (speed/brand). I'm rather proud of how well our boards work in that respect and it mostly comes down to my team of 12 people being asses to the devs when something doesn't look right.

Anyway, thanks for the kudos and believe it or not:

that said, we would all be in a much better position if there was still a viable alternative architecture in the market place

I assume you're referring mostly to PA and the like here (though I was partial to MIPS) and boy do I agree with you. I miss my old SGI.
-anon (obviously)

Actually PA wasn't foremost in my mind when I wrote that, the architectures that seemed to be in the running to break out of the HPC/Workstation niche were Alpha and SPARC.

That said, I really do miss MIPS even though I never had that much exposure to it but from the little I had it seemed to me to be the cleanest design ever to be put into production.

Coming from the other end of course ARM is the most popular architecture out there, and they were smart to side-step the obvious dangers of taking intel on in the desktop space but it's a really nice ISA and would've been a great choice if it had been ramped up for desktop use.

Re:AMD had it going-939 (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25963315)

Coming from the other end of course ARM is the most popular architecture out there, and they were smart to side-step the obvious dangers of taking intel on in the desktop space but it's a really nice ISA and would've been a great choice if it had been ramped up for desktop use.

...sadly of course intel had a license for ARM but sold it off to Marvell, but I get the impression that it wouldn't have gone anywhere anyway...I mean you've only got to look at the whole Firewire/USB fiasco to see that intel have no qualms in creating a pile of stinking dog excrement and marketing the hell out of it all because of the "not invented here" syndrome.

Re:AMD had it going-939 (1)

HouseOfMisterE (659953) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960597)

My short-lived socket 939 system is enabling me to type this post, apparently making it not all that short-lived.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957885)

...but have since really lost momentum and competitiveness

Seven out of the top ten supercomputers in the latest top500 list have AMD in them, including the top two, so I don't really see the whole "AMD losing momentum and competitiveness.

It is incredibly short sighted to gauge company performance by supercomputing statistics. The reality is that AMD have been second best for quite some time now. This is retail. Not how many chips are in supercomputing top tens.

The truth is, they are not losing their competitiveness or their momentum, they're simply maintaining a fairly steady pace of being second best by a similar margin.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960761)

Considering the size disparity between Intel and AMD, its really very impressive that they keep up at all.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957279)

But ... if they're cheaper than Intel then why do they need to be faster?

PS: These days power efficiency is almost as important as speed.

Re:AMD had it going (5, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957679)

What scares me is that AMD might decline into a purely budget CPU house like Cyrix did and then leave the market together.

Now think back to the Itanium fiasco. If AMD hadn't have been around or hadn't been making high end chips Intel could have made the high end IA64 and gradually migrate the whole market to it. So now we'd be running underpowered and overpriced IA64 chips. In a sense the thing that prevented that was that chips were dual sourced so Intel couldn't force a transition to an inferior successor like Microsoft did with XP to Vista. And IA64 was likely so patented that no one else would be ever be able to make compatible chips.

Of course with AMD around Intel was forced to adopt x64 and produce the excellent Core, Core2 and now Core i7 microarchitectures and do it very quickly. Just imagine what would have happened if they hadn't been. Recently I've heard AMD they will go fabless for example. TSMC and other commodity fabs don't have technology to match Intel, so AMD will lag behind. For low end stuff it doesn't matter much, but it really does for the high end. Mind you Intel is kicking ass in the netbook market too. It really makes you wonder how long AMD will be around. And if AMD go under so would ATI since they bought it. I actually prefer Intel and NVidia in this generation but I'm not sure they would be much good if there was no competition.

Not a very comforting thought is it?

Re:AMD had it going (1)

hdrix963 (541876) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958871)

AMD is splitting in two, a fabless AMD and a foundry (still not named), so they still have technology to match Intel. But they could use commodity fabs for cost reason.

Drix

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959083)

Of course with AMD around Intel was forced to adopt x64 and produce the excellent Core, Core2 and now Core i7 microarchitectures and do it very quickly.

Actually the Core 1 doesn't support 64-bit and doesn't use the Core architecture, it's basically just a Pentium-M (or two). The first CPU to use the Core architecture is the Core 2.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960547)

AMD is in a bad place right now. They're being squeezed on the x86 side by Intel with better performance/watt CPUs, and the only thing keeping both of them from being destroyed overnight is the fact Microsoft's desktop OS doesn't run on ARM.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960723)

I think if IA-64 ever achieved the kind of volume the x86 market has, it would end up being a fine processor with lots of room for improvement still. It never really stood a chance: it was marketed as a server processor and Microsoft offerer only a half-assed support for it (it's their best interest to keep computers a commodity and they will fight any attempt to differentiate in that space). In addition, by the time it could be a viable high-power desktop workstation for developers or data-crunchers (a space it shines in) there was no Fedora or Ubuntu for it.

Instead, AMD came out with a set of extensions to the crufty x86 and that is what we use today. We would be much better if we started from a clean sheet.

And much, much better, if binary compatibility to x86 wasn't such a big issue.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#25961375)

I think if IA-64 ever achieved the kind of volume the x86 market has, it would end up being a fine processor with lots of room for improvement still. It never really stood a chance: it was marketed as a server processor and Microsoft offerer only a half-assed support for it (it's their best interest to keep computers a commodity and they will fight any attempt to differentiate in that space). In addition, by the time it could be a viable high-power desktop workstation for developers or data-crunchers (a space it shines in) there was no Fedora or Ubuntu for it.

Instead, AMD came out with a set of extensions to the crufty x86 and that is what we use today. We would be much better if we started from a clean sheet.

And much, much better, if binary compatibility to x86 wasn't such a big issue.

None of that is true. Microsoft ported NT based kernels to Itanium (and spent vast amounts of time doing so because there are some subtle issues [msdn.com] ). Still since it was made by Intel it was pretty much guaranteed to get Windows support.

An Opteron 246 had about the same SpecInt as an Itanium 2 even when both were running native code.

http://www.theinquirer.net/en/inquirer/news/2003/11/05/amd-benchmarks-opteron-against--itanium-xeons-piiis [theinquirer.net]

An Itanium was much slower running x86 binaries. Even the second generation run x86 binaries slowly

http://www.builderau.com.au/news/soa/Itanium-loses-x86-hardware-support/0,339028227,339230300,00.htm [builderau.com.au]

Microsoft Windows and major Linux versions include IA-32 EL. The emulation layer is considerably slower than a modern Xeon however: A 1.5GHz Itanium 2 processor runs emulated x86 instructions at about the same speed as a 1.5GHz Xeon processor, according to Intel.

At that point the fastest Xeon was much faster than 1.5Ghz

Opteron systems were much cheaper

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/57718-28-opteron-kill-itanium [tomshardware.com]

and they tended to win on real world benchmarks

http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/08/01/30FE64linux_3.html [infoworld.com]

Basically Itanium was a chance for a company with vast resources to start from scratch and it wasn't faster than x86. The Risc chips that NT supported actually had a better performance advantage, at one point up to 2x the SpecInt. And that wasn't enough to get people to bear the pain of switching over.

The fact is you can't judge computer architecture by aesthetic principles. x86 and x64 may look ugly but that is subjective. The thing that counts is performance and x86 has been beating competing architectures on SpecInt for ages.

Amd64 vs Ia64 was particularly dramatic. Intel had a huge financial advantage and at one point desktop Athlon 64s were the fastest processor in the world, beating far more expensive Ia64 server processors. It's the same now with Nehalem -

http://www.onscale.de/specbrowser/2006-i.html [onscale.de]

it beats far more expensive non x86 chips, including ones from Intel.

Actually it wins on FP now, which is something that non x86 chips tended to do well at

http://www.onscale.de/specbrowser/2006-f.html [onscale.de]

It's easy to say that it would be easy to start from a clean sheet, but Intel has tried that, poured money into it got the entire industry (including Microsoft) to announce transition plans from x86 to Ia64 and it still failed. Hell Ia64 isn't even that aesthetically pleasing, the more you look at it the more crufty it is.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

eabrek (880144) | more than 4 years ago | (#25963173)

I agree, for the most part.

The thing that counts is performance

Of course the RISCs had higher performance - what really matters is installed base. x86 had it. That's the same reason we still have mainframes...

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#25961201)

Recently I've heard AMD they will go fabless for example. TSMC and other commodity fabs don't have technology to match Intel, so AMD will lag behind.

Well, neither did AMD, being a second-fiddle CPU producer just isn't enough to fund it, these days you're looking at speciality process manufacturing companies like TSMC doing CPUs, GPUs, memory, SSDs and whatever else needs making, the AMD foundry probably going the same way. At the absurd investments we're looking at here, it might not be long before you see one TSMC/IBM/AMD joint venture vs Intel as we head into 10-20nm land.

Re:AMD had it going (2, Informative)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957867)

Luckily for them Nehalem Xeons are a long time off in the computer world, especially in 4 and 8 socket variants, where AMD excels. Indeed the graphs in the review show that given another two processors, AMD would have been far more competitive. And in the server benchmarks Shanghai performed extremely well from the start, apart from the reimplementation in C# of XMLBench (instead of using the C, C++ or Java version that is well tested) that had problems.

In addition AMD have a platform that has already been tested and used by many companies. Nehalem is a major change that would require assessment before deployment.

On top of that, AMD will have a new platform out that enables HT3 and DDR3, which will improve performance, and this will be before the 4S+ Nehalem platform is out.

And maybe someone will test virtualisation in these reviews one day, where AMD will likely beat Intel into the ground (due to nested page tables and other optimisations), even on a 2S server.

Of course Intel have a far superior core and floating point. Many would argue that you should use a GPU for serious work involving the latter now of course... so would Intel, judging by their work on Larrabee.

Re:AMD had it going (4, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957873)

I wouldn't be so quick to say that AMD has lost it all.

First of all, in the 4 and 8-socket market, AMD still has no competition. The Intel Xeon MP series is still using the outdated FSB technology. This series also requires expensive and power-consuming FB-DIMM modules instead of DDR2/DDR3. Nehalem-based Xeon MPs are not going to ship before Q4 2009. Etc.

Secondly, in the 1-socket and 2-socket market, and regarding the latest 45nm AMD Shanghai and Intel Nehalem, so far there are very few benchmarks comparing directly the 2 microarchitectures; most of the hardware review sites do the mistake of comparing Shanghai against the older Intel generation, or the older AMD generation against Nehalem. But from what I have seen, clock-for-clock, for most workloads, Shanghai and Nehalem are very close, +/-10% in terms of performance, and Shanghai seems to do this in the same or a slightly lower power envelope. Some workloads do exhibit a more significant performance difference, with either Shanghai or Nehalem pulling ahead of its competitor. Now comparing clock-for-clock isn't really what matters. What matters is dollar-for-dollar comparisons. But what is interesting is that AMD has priced the Shanghai Opterons 23xx to match very closing the Nehalem Xeon 55xx series at equivalent frequencies. This tends to indicate that AMD thinks that they offer a clock-for-clock value identical or better than Intel.

The only area where AMD will clearly be unable to compete in the 1 and 2-socket market is the very high end: 1-socket Shanghai processors will top out at 3.0 GHz, 2-socket processors will top out at 2.8 GHz, while Intel goes all the way up to 3.2 GHz. However these expensive processors represent a very small proportion of the market share (virtually nobody buys $1000+ processors), so it shouldn't be a huge factor regarding which processor manufacturer "wins" this 45nm battle. Intel will have the bragging rights, but that's about it.

Another last point I would like to mention is that AMD will be the only one to offer low-power 1-socket 45nm Shanghai for at least the entire first half of 2009: 55W and 75W ACP Opteron 13xx, and 95W TDP Phenom II. While Intel will only offer Core i7 and Xeon 35xx processors rated at 130W TDP (!). They are planning to release lower-power 45nm Nehalems only during the second half of 2009. I find it rather stunning for Intel to not care more about power consumption... especially for their Xeon 55xx line, the server market cares about energy efficiency. We all remember that extravagant power consumption and temperature was a major factor that caused the failure of the Pentium 4 Netburst microarchitecture...

Re:AMD had it going (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959375)

You also only kind of hinted at the ease of migration. All that the OEMs need to do to introduce the Shanghai is to put it in the socket. with the I7 family it they will need to move to a new motherboard as well. For manufactures this will be a big win since for may buyers it will be seen as a nice safe evolutionary change. The one thing that worries the server market is big changes. It is all about stability.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 4 years ago | (#25963135)

That's right. Nehalem requires new chipsets, new sockets, hence new motherboards, *and* new memory (more expensive DDR3 replacing DDR2). As opposed to Shanghai that can just be dropped into any 2-year old socket F motherboard. While Intel had no choice and had to do these architectural changes, this is a factor that is going to hamper the rate of adoption of Nehalem.

Re:AMD had it going (1)

Whiternoise (1408981) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958019)

AMD were royally in the red when they bought ATI. One would assume that they couldn't afford to plough billions into r/d and so their chips suffered. They have since more or less recovered, ATI is still more than a match for Nvidia and will provide a healthy revenue for AMD (even if AMD chips aren't the fastest, the HD4870X2 is still the fastest single card on the market i believe). They'll get back eventually. The trouble (if you can call it that) with Intel is that they have a ridiculously large pot of cash that they can put wherever the hell they want, so they can pump funds into research that's a few generations ahead of the current. AMD are still not a bad chip manufacturer. You have to think of it this way, when you look at the benchmarks, similarly priced Phenom and C2Quad chips perform well. Sure the quads are faster, but the Phenoms don't exactly slouch. Both will give you top notch performance. A far cry from the days when a Pentium 4 was a complete joke compared to the Athlons.

Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 4 years ago | (#25956845)

I'm not wise to all the marketing names that chip vendors use these days: will this 'Opteron' chip be priced competitively as an alternative to the Core i7, or will it just be an expensive server processor? I know that having the fastest top-end chip has a halo effect on the rest of the range but with Intel's mid-range processors being good and cheap, that's where AMD most needs to make an improvement.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (5, Informative)

thona (556334) | more than 4 years ago | (#25956881)

No marketing talk in those names.

Not sure you would call it expensive, but the OPTERON chips per definition are only server chips. The Opteron 23xx series (45nm shanghai) is dual processor, while the 83xx series is quad processor.

The end user equivalent is the PHENOM series.

Note that this is a technical difference, not marketing talk. The Opterons use Socket F, while the Phenoms (single processor only) use the AM2+ socket. Different pin count, different number of interconnect ports (for connecting to other processory).

45nm Phenoms are IIRC supposed to appear soonish ;) Opterons start being available now - I pick up a new server on friday.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (-1, Redundant)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 4 years ago | (#25956965)

A lot of desktops these days have dual core processors as standard, so I don't think you can say that this is a server feature by definition. If AMD doesn't have a reasonably priced desktop chip that competes on performance with Intel's Core Duo and Core i7 then they lose out on the large market segment in between low-end desktops and servers.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25956983)

Dual processor, not dual core processor. They're designed to communicate on multi-socket motherboards.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (2, Informative)

lagfest (959022) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957007)

No, he meant multiple processors each of which has four cores. And that is indeed primarily a server feature.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (4, Informative)

thona (556334) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957025)

You should read up on the difference between dual CORE and dual PROCESSOR.

In fact, both current Opterons as well as current Phenoms are quad core systems. The Phenoms single processor (1x4 cores), the Opterons dual to quad processor (2x4 cores to 4x4 cores).

Hardly any end user system (i.e. non-server) today uses more than one processor. Dual core to quad core is normal now. But always on one processor.

The difference in sockets actually is for that - the AM2(+) socket lackss the HT bus for inter-processor communication, while the Socket F has separate lanes for the processors to talk to each other.

The main problem with Intel right now is that intel has no really nice solution at all in the multi processor side - they simply (again) do not scale from the memory side, thanks to a lack of a NUMA architecture (that they change now and coming).

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957079)

Well, OK, the terminology I've always seen is to say 'two sockets' when you mean to say that there are two separate chips on the motherboard, rather than two cores in the same chip (which is another way of providing 'two processors'). But I take your point.

Does that mean that the Opteron cannot be used in a single-socket configuration? In the old days the Pentium Pro was SMP capable, but often used in single-socket motherboards.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25957131)

the 13xx series is single socket

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

All_One_Mind (945389) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957311)

Opterons can be used in a single socket configuration just fine.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957665)

Opteron can be used in any combination.
Single processor to Quad Processor, Single core to quad core.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25958797)

Processors are processors, cores are cores.
You seem to be conflating the two.

2 processors x 4 cores each = 8 core rig

Each processor (chip) requires a separate socket.

The Opteron processor can be used in a single socket configuration, it's just that most if not all the current socket-F mobos are dual socket (or better).

On top of that, Windows runs up to two processors (regardless of core count) without additional licensing.

If you have a dual socket-F mobo, the temptation to fill the second socket is just too hard to resist unless you are too financially restricted. And the sufficiently financially restricted would/should have settled for a Phenom (it's a cheaper way to get more or less the same compute as a single socket Opteron rig)

Older (socket-939/940) generations of the Opteron had more emphasis on supporting single-socket (socket-939) rigs, but they were too early for quad cores.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959167)

Does that mean that the Opteron cannot be used in a single-socket configuration?

No, you can use Opterons on their own, if you want.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (2, Interesting)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960845)

For the people who like pictures, feel free to check out pictures of one of our socket F server boards [flickr.com] before it got closed up and installed.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957943)

The 83xx series can have 32 cores in a single system (although 16 will be the most common, in a four socket configuration). Why are you talking about two cores?

The 23xx series can have 8 cores in a single system.

The 13xx series which will come out in due course will be the cheap 1-4 core processor you are talking about.

Note that Core i7 isn't available in a server platform yet.

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

briantf (116180) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959987)

Not dual core, dual processor (4 cores). Or 16 cores in the case of the 4-way 8300's.

Regards,
Brian in CA

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (3, Informative)

this great guy (922511) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957551)

Well to be pedantic:

  • The Opteron 1xxx series is using the same AM2+ socket as the Phenom processors, and are in fact rebranded Phenoms (no technical difference). But you are correct in that Opteron 2xxx and 8xxx are completely different animals.
  • The Opteron 8xxx series is for systems with 4 or more sockets (not restricted to 4). This is made possible because each of the 3 HT links per processor is running the cache coherency protocol (whereas only 1 out of the 3 HT link of an Opteron 2xxx runs the protocol).

Re:Does 'Opteron' mean 'expensive'? (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957937)

Bit of both, actually. Most often it has been known as a server chip. That being said there have been opterons that were more targeting desktop market. Generally opterons for desktop market had better cache or something to that effect compared to their regular retail brothers. Good example being the emergence of the opteron 165 which was a regular socket CPU that was known for excellent overclocking potential and definitely not priced for server market.

So... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25956935)

Goatse

Site's been slashdotted (1)

MC68040 (462186) | more than 4 years ago | (#25956969)

--- Or at least I can't reach it. I guess their servers doesn't feature any of the cpu's reviewed ;)

Mirror anyone?

Re:Site's been slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25956999)

Summary: Intel's old stuff still beats the crap out of AMD's new stuff, but the reviewer was very kind to AMD anyway. Core i7 Xeons will add another 20% to the performance gap over the Opterons.

The only place where the opterons win is power consumption. And those tests were "load" and "idle", not "performance per watt" scores.

Re:Site's been slashdotted (4, Informative)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957187)

I cant resist, on account of all the people who look at the Core i7 benches and think its all over; considering that the best "review" of a Nehalem EP (the dual socket variant) is a couple of guys who have a single screenshot for spec_fp, I'd say the battle's too early to call. All we've seen are single socket Nehalems-- & thats not been AMD's strong suit for some time.

Even considering that Intel's single socket game has been largely better for a while, there are some key areas AMD systems perform better. HPC, render farms, some web serving, virtualization... for all these places where people need a lot of cpus, AMD is has stayed in the runnings or maintained a lead (depends a lot on just what you're running). Unfortunately the benchmarks usually published dont factor in these kinds of workloads much at all. Cinebench is the only benchmark in the review anywhere near the above. I think if we ran some VMWare benchmarks, things would look drastically different.

But the real quesiton here is Intel: Intel is just now doing the infrastructure AMD did in early spring `03: QPI to AMD's HT, similar onboard memory setups... and thusfar aside from some spec_fp numbers, we have no idea whatsoever how well their implementation is going to work. Once Intel releases Nehalem EP for testing, we'll have an idea.

Re:Site's been slashdotted (5, Interesting)

this great guy (922511) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957625)

You are so true about virtualization. Just 2 or 3 weeks ago I was benchmarking Linux and Windows VMs compiling Java code under Qemu/KVM-75 on an 2-socket 8-core 2.0GHz Opteron 2350 (non-Shanghai) system, and on a 1-socket 4-core 2.4GHz Core 2 Q6600 system. The VMs were configured with 1, 2, or 4 virtual processors and not more, to not give an unfair advantage to the AMD system which had twice the number of cores. Despite the lower CPU frequency as well as lower memory throughput and latency (registered DDR2-667 vs. unbuffered DDR2-800 for Intel), the AMD system was kicking the ass of the Intel system in every case by as much as 10-30%. Most likely this was because of the integrated memory controller and support of nested paging (aka "Rapid Virtualization Index"). Now Intel has cloned these 2 features in their Nehalem microarchitecture. I am very impatient to see how they perform.

Re:Site's been slashdotted (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960889)

Of course, you'll still have the HT bus advantage on the AMD box when you include the second (or third, or fourth) CPU, something Intel can't compete with yet.

it's a shame (1, Troll)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957115)

It's too bad AMD rested on their laurels after destroying Intel's itanium.  Too bad they destroyed Itanium by the simple expedient of backwards compatibility, as opposed to superior architecture.

Because that's what's happened to them now--Intel has them dead beat on core architecture, and no amount of size reduction or megahertzing can save them now.

Sure hope they're hard at work on some kickass new architecture in their basement, because we desperately need Intel to have a strong competitor.

Re:it's a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25957451)

Itanium was actually an inferior architecture. Sure, the bandwidths everywhere were nice and the cache design (always a strong suit of Intel) was really top-notch, but the overall result was a piece of sh*t. It's impossible to compile well for IA-64, as anyone who has tried will tell you, even Intel's own compiler team (unrivalled in the world) couldn't make it run real-world code well.

Re:it's a shame (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958063)

Itanium was actually an inferior architecture.

With great sadness, I have to inform you (and remind myself) that IA-64 a.k.a Itanic is still alive.

I'm kind of forced to work on Itanic under HP-UX everyday... :(

Re:it's a shame (2, Interesting)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958879)

I love bagging the itanic as much as the next guy, but to be fair it does perform well under certain loads; give it an online transaction processing load and it will shine, which by an amazing coincidence is where HP's target market for the platform is.

Re:it's a shame (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#25962595)

I agree with that. OS is quite performer and their compiler is state of the art. I'd say they have good scheduler and pthreads implementation is fastest I have ever seen.

Yet. Before, I was swearing at Solaris user tools. Until I haven't started working with HP-UX. Their user tools are even more primitive and counter-intuitive. sed/grep/awk/sort/uniq/friends often fails with fancy meaningless (or "dead end" type of) messages. (e.g. "line is too long").

Spending 1 hour every day writing some scripts to do something what under Linux is available for free or working around some decade old bogosity vs. very fast CPU/OS/compiler - is tough choice. I tend to choose system with better user tools because people do less stupid mistakes there and overall business process then flows smoother.

From that point of view HP-UX is quite poor performer.

P.S. And they were last (even later than Mac OS X!!) to become UNIX'03 certified.

Re:it's a shame (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25963077)

I agree with that. OS is quite performer and their compiler is state of the art. I'd say they have good scheduler and pthreads implementation is fastest I have ever seen.

Yet. Before, I was swearing at Solaris user tools. Until I haven't started working with HP-UX. Their user tools are even more primitive and counter-intuitive. sed/grep/awk/sort/uniq/friends often fails with fancy meaningless (or "dead end" type of) messages. (e.g. "line is too long").

Spending 1 hour every day writing some scripts to do something what under Linux is available for free or working around some decade old bogosity vs. very fast CPU/OS/compiler - is tough choice. I tend to choose system with better user tools because people do less stupid mistakes there and overall business process then flows smoother.

From that point of view HP-UX is quite poor performer.

P.S. And they were last (even later than Mac OS X!!) to become UNIX'03 certified.

I had a similar journey, 7 years experience as a Solaris Admin, and the switching over to HP-UX for the following 7 years.

I discovered that they both had their strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately I would say that Solaris was a more developer friendly platform whereas HP-UX was more sysadmin friendly. I've since started playing with Solaris again (Solaris 10) and found that it's a much nicer platform to admin.

The one thing that will forever stick in my mind as the thing that let Solaris down in its previous incarnations was Disk Suite, coming from that piece of shite to LVM was like the difference between flying in the back of a military cargo plane and flying first class.

Re:it's a shame (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959123)

", I have to inform you (and remind myself) that IA-64 a.k.a Itanic is still alive. "

I believe the term is undead.

Well, Intel did try something different. Too bad their EPIC Itanic can't fly as well as the x86 pigs with jetpacks (that also fly faster than most of the snooty RISC eagles ;) ).

more the reverse (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957493)

AMD didn't really destroy Itanium and then rest on their laurels. Although you have to give them some credit for coming up with reasonably good chips that the market wanted, it was more that Itanium was the reason AMD was competitive with Intel in the x86 space for a few years in the first place.

Intel has orders of magnitude more R&D budget and especially capital for fab construction than AMD does. So AMD is perpetually at least a half-generation behind Intel on the tech curve: they keep coming up with chips that could beat Intel... if they had come out a year ago. Now when Intel effectively skips a generation, as they did when they sunk all their resources into Itanium and mostly ignored x86 for a year or two, this is enough to give AMD the lead. But once Intel shifted fully back into x86, they crushed AMD again.

Crushed? I beg to differ (1)

Bozdune (68800) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959951)

On our benchmarks we can't get 4 cores' worth of performance out of an Intel CPU, but we can get nearly 8 cores' worth out of AMD. AMD's memory bus architecture is simply better.

Re:it's a shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25958095)

Someone please mod this fool down. No need to change the default font for a post. Even if the post itself has something good to say they can post it in the default font just like everyone else. Modding them up only encourages that sort of nonsense.

It's a shame, too (4, Insightful)

kmike (31752) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957331)

I find it disappointing that the test of the supposed server-oriented processors does not include web server tests - after all it's probably the largest market for such processors.

I mean, does anyone really care about Folding@Home number these processors can crunch? Or "VRAD map build benchmark"? WTF?

Re:It's a shame, too (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957953)

That would come down to chipset, ram and HD performance also which would likely distort the question of which CPU would be the better choice.

Re:It's a shame, too (1)

kmike (31752) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958123)

Don't other tests, especially those involving HD encoding, use RAM, IO and chipset to run?

I mean, all these semi-synthetic benchmarks tell me nothing about how the system would fare in the real-world usage such as web hosting.

Re:It's a shame, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25957991)

If the bottleneck of your webserver is CPU (instead of IO), you're probably doing something wrong.

Of course webapps will cost considerably more CPU resources, and if you run a database on the same server even more, but that's another problem altogether.

Re:It's a shame, too (1)

kmike (31752) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958213)

Ok, I should have been more clear, of course I mean the web apps performance, serving pure static content doesn't require much CPU.

One could say that SPECjbb2005 test could be used to approximate the web apps performance, but I wouldn't call "the performance of server side Java by emulating a three-tier client/server system (with emphasis on the middle tier)" a typical web server workload. I mean, a PHP forum or CMS is much more common on the web servers out there than a 3-tier threaded Java app.

Seeing how these new server CPU's handle various database tasks would be great, too.

Re:It's a shame, too (4, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958085)

Also, they have used several openly pro-Intel applications: Cinebench and M$ .Net.

Cinebench never hid the fact that they optimize for Intel and if you want to have best performance you need to buy Intel CPUs.

M$ .Net XML benchmark - M$ C/C++ compiler and libraries in many parts use Intel's hand written asm code. And it always produced code optimized for Intel architectures.

Re:It's a shame, too (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#25960915)

Something like a multi HTTP / SMTP server test would be nice, and running a few dozen virtualized servers too.

XML (-1, Redundant)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957337)

Anyone else find it hilarious that XML processing is used in a performance benchmark nowadays?

I've always thought those things were bloated and slow, but I hadn't expected this :)

Re:XML (1)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958909)

Hilarious no! Profoundly disturbing yes!

AMD benchmarks with Intel optimized code? (3, Insightful)

GNUPublicLicense (1242094) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957389)

Again, I wonder if the benchmarks used AMD optimized code (they have to use the proper GCC backend). It seems that most of the time, the benchmarks for non-Intel processors are based on Intel optimized code. I have never seen mentionned in the benchmarks if the tools were using the best machine code for the targetted processor... yeah... that smells bad.

Re:AMD benchmarks with Intel optimized code? (2, Interesting)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 4 years ago | (#25957705)

call me a conspiracy theorist, but i'd like to see the benchmarks on *bsd and gnu/linux systems as well. i've often wondered if microsoft has a deal with intel to slow amd processors.

Re:AMD benchmarks with Intel optimized code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25958001)

I think the SPECJbb test is the only test you should be looking at then.. thats probably as fair of a common ground as I can see..

but, even then, the jvm is making system calls that may or may not be aware of the architecture. Ideally, though, the jvm won't know any magic and be compilled to the windows system calls rather than any special op codes the architectures may support.

Agreed, though; I don't run any windows servers .. so, pretty useless to me.

NUMA (3, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#25958597)

i've often wondered if microsoft has a deal with intel to slow amd processors.

Yes, sort of.
It's called NUMA - Non Uniform Memory Architecture.

Up until recently Intel platforms had the memory controlled by the northbridge, with all CPUs and all cores having the same access to the memory.

Newest Intel platform and all 64bits AMD had the memory controller on the processor package. In a multi-socket configuration, each processor controls it's own chunk of memory, so for some range, the access will be faster because the processor is directly accessing it, and for other the latency will be increased because the processor has to ask its neighbour over HyperTransport / QuickPath.

To be able to function in a such configuration, an OS should pay some attention when scheduling process and threads to cores : it should be best that all threads from some process are all scheduled to cores having all direct access to the resources used by said process. (While at the same time scheduling two threads at a physical core and it's corresponding hyperthreading virtual core if there's a another physical core sitting idle)

Windows has always deeply sucked at this. Opensource OS, on the other hand, have much more work applied to them for that. (That's why they are much more popular on super computers).

This also introduces technical difficulties (like keeping the cache coherent). That's also why heavily multi-socketed (4 and up) motherboard won't be coming during the first year of Core i7's life. They probably have to fix all the fine details before that. As usual expect a change in socket format and a new iteration of Core i7 not quite exactly compatible with the previous one.

On AMD's side, currently sold Opteron are already adapted for 4 and more sockets configuration. (As explained by other /.ers, the 8000 series has a coherency protocol running on 3 HT interconnects, which should be enough to help on 4 and more sockets).

Re:NUMA (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#25964235)

Windows 2003 is NUMA aware. My problem is the Oracle NUMA patches are not very well tested and hence less stable. We quickly backed out the NUMA commands from our 10GR2 systems after experiencing a number of issues. Perhaps Oracle's code has gotten better in the last ~2 years, but for us the slight performance increase wasn't worth the headaches.

Race tracks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25957527)

..and benchmarks. If AMD apply the name "Silverstone" to something that runs like a dog, I'll not be happy. Of course, if it were water cooled, it would probably be quite apt.

Right now, the core should probably be called "Monaco" since the chances of them overtaking the competition are pretty slim unless they get really lucky.

Amd has lower cost chipset and good on board video (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#25959973)

Amd has lower cost chipset and good on board video.

Also you can use any chipset in a 2P and 4P+ system unlike intel where you are stuck with nvidia chipsets. Back when the intel mac pro first came out at the time amd 2p systems had more pci-e lanes and a better I/O setup for them. Also intel does not have low to mid range corei7 chipsets / MB they only have high - mid and up.

The new phenom 2 will work with to days amd chipsets / boards unlike intel. Core i7 is fast but $250 - $300 + for a MB that is over kill for some people we all don't need a high end 3-4 way sli / crossfire fire board + $300 for the cpu.

Amd has good $80 to $140 boards some even have on board video with side port ram. High end dual full x16 or more boards go for $150 - $200.

Intel needs to have a low end - mid range corei7 cpu + lower end chipset / board with the lines for 1 full x16 port can be split to x8 x8 and left over ones for the other ports maybe a x4 and few x1 lanes for on board stuff / 2-3 pci-e x1 slots.

kinda offtopic but... (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#25962107)

the codenames AMD is using for the opteron line are all cities that hosts, or used to host, formula 1 grand prixes.

maranelo, sao paulo, magny cours...

nice to see my own city (sao paulo) mentioned in the road map. gotta start saving $$$ to buy me one of those "sao paulo" chips when they get released.

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